Is Peace just an ideal or attainable?
An excerpt from Tony Campolo's blog, written by Jimmy Spencer Jr. - May 2, 2011
"I remember watching the riots and flag burning in parts of the Middle East that took place after the 9/11 events. I remember feeling angry toward those people celebrating the deaths of my countrymen. I remember feeling anger toward the people that perpetrated the attacks on mothers and fathers and working class people across the country. I couldn’t help but to think, “what is wrong with those people that they really think that God is on their side?” I remember thinking; “They actually think that this is how God demonstrates his favor—by killing the people who don’t fit into our moral, political or religious agendas?”
...and here I sit again.
Watching my Facebook Wall filling up with American cheers and jeers.
“God is on our side!!”
“God’s justice has been done!”
It made me cry a bit.
It makes me angry again.
Watching my Facebook friends, pastors and Christians strike their own chorus of revelry and revenge that somehow God’s will has been done and He has acted for us. He has delivered justice for us. He has delivered revenge for us. He has delivered our enemies to us because He is good and just—and God is on our side.
Of course, the logical flaw is that everyone thinks this."
We become so easily stuck in this quagmire of illogical thought. Everyday, in small and insignificant ways, we engage in the "I'm right, you are wrong" thinking and dialogue. When will be able to hold a broader perspective; one that encompasses multiple perspectives, and allows the co-existence of differing beliefs and understandings?
Should I seek to harm you through thought, word or deed because you do not act, think, or believe as I do? Why is it so difficult for us to hold multiple perspectives, and not become seduced into the black and white thinking of 'right and wrong'?
Is peace really attainable?
I firmly believe peace must begin within ourselves. Everyday, every hour, every minute we have the opportunity to question whether we are acting (or re-acting) out of fear or love. This practice of mindfulness brings us to an awareness of self that allows for deep reflection. Am I acting in love? Or, am I acting in fear? If it is fear, then step back, pause, and take a minute to ask yourself, how can I respond differently?
The death of Osama bin Laden may indeed be a blessing on levels still not understood. Perhaps the current polarization, and fruitful dialogue that is transpiring, is a catalyst for us to examine and question ourselves on a deeper level.
Are we practicing peace or revenge; are we creating friends or enemies; are we building bridges or burning them?